Nature’s Secrets | Hope Wood

Today I’m bringing you a really special guest blogger. This person is near and dear to my heart and I’m so excited to share her with you today. Hope Wood and I met because she was my *first* Illuminate student. Ever. She’s known the path of babyloss, and I’ve watched her photography journey blossom from a place of hurt 3 years ago to a place of healing and hope today. Her passion behind the lens is a bit different than mine, but her words ring such truth and beauty that I just had to share them with you today. Please give her your warmest welcome, leave her some love in the comments, and visit her at Hope Wood Photography once you’re done.

How do I feel when I shoot nature images?

I feel like I am connecting with something larger than myself. It gets me away from the noise, the hustle and bustle, the busyness of everyday life. It brings me into a serene place of peace where the world seems to shrink and grow exponentially larger all in the same space where I find myself standing.

It’s a respite of sorts, a getaway, an escape into a different world or an entry into a part of reality I often leave not encountered.

I’m drawn by a rising sense of anticipation when I pick up my camera.

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What will I find?

Will I be able to capture an image that does justice to the beauty I come upon, the story I am watching unfold?

To hunt and look for those flowers that catch my eye, that leaf that has that certain shape or color that draws me in, the serenity of that mountain stream, the sound of rushing water at a waterfall, the tree with a unique shape, the road that catches my eye and speaks of simpler times, the barn that carries with it hundreds of lost stories, the old house that has invisible shelves of untold stories and walls that speak loudly….and the list could go on and on.


Stories are at the root of my passion in photography.

My story intersected with photography as a way to deal with the pain of loss. I rewrote my own story, in a sense, as my photographs helped me push through grief. Specifically, I hold dear the images of the cherry blossom blooms that arrive every spring on my 2 memorial trees out in my front yard. Images helped connect me to the people I was grieving for.

Nature drew me into capturing stories.

I’m convinced the best story images never get caught on camera, but cameras can capture a stories essence and tell it again very well. Without pictures stories are left only in our memories and whether we like it or not, memories fade, while photographs continue to speak loudly.

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Many stories unfold for only a few to see, without ever being documented, and many play out in nature without a single solitary witness. Stories are the rhythm of life on every level of existence. They are happening constantly everywhere.

That is what is so special to me about photography: it documents beautiful snippets of priceless stories, glimpses, perspectives, pieces, parts of a larger whole.

Pictures never capture the whole entire story, they cannot, the stories of life are so much larger than camera, lens, and shutter can contain. But photography enters the story in a special place, captures some layers of it and then retreats to find another story to tell pieces of.  Any flower photographed is a flower better known to those who see an image of it, when without the image they most likely never would have seen that particular flower, and the image showcases a moment in time they weren’t privy to.

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Beauty is unfolding and happening all around us at every tiny moment.

Photography is one avenue of holding a little bit of that beauty as almost frozen in time, to enjoy over and over.

We are only a small part of a much larger whole. All beauty cannot be photographed, there is too much of it, it is too large and expansive to be contained. I love that about nature. Every moment is pulsing with life and change around us. Even when tragedy strikes there is the irony of how life keeps going on when we feel as though the world should come to a screeching halt.

I love the continuity of life and nature and stories.

“The Pictures are there, and you just take them” – Robert Capa

The stories are there, the moments are there, I just borrow a piece of them with my camera.

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IMG_6759csmallHope is a SAHM of 2. She has been pursuing photography as a creative outlet since 2010 and lives in Gatlinburg, TN near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She loves macro nature photography and telling stories with her images as she captures glimpses of the beauty of God’s creation surrounding her that can often go unnoticed or unseen from a particular perspective. Visit her on her blog HERE or Facebook HERE

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Hope is about to open the door to the next chapter of her journey, with the grand opening of a brand new website and print shop with her gorgeous work. She’s generously offering a completely free desktop wallpaper on her site (click HERE to snag it) and is getting ready to put her first product, a 2014 art calendar, on sale next month. If you’re looking to embrace a sense of calm and peace, spend just a few minutes browsing her blog HERE. I promise you won’t be disappointed.